Monday, May 25, 2009

This writing is in memory and in honor of all of those men and women who have served our country and given the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom.

Every man must die, but only a few really live. We cannot evade death because it will eventually come; but how we choose to live our lives makes a difference every day. How many of us have the courage to truly live. How many of us seize the day? Make the most out of every minute of our life; so that we can impact and make a difference in someone else’s life. I believe that our country was founded by people who had the courage to live. They believed with their whole being in liberty and justice for all. They had a dream and vision for what they wanted for our country. Patrick Henry stated it best when he said, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death”!

It was December of 1915; France, Britain, and Russia were struggling in their fight against the German Empire. A Canadian poet, John McCrae stood by as he watched the steady onward march of the enemy, and the almost hopeless heroism of his comrades to stay the German pressure. They were marching towards certain death and yet they courageously marched forward – fighting for their freedom and that of their countries. After watching this John, sat by the bedside of his dying friend, who had been wounded in battle; he then went on to write,

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row.
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead, short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Love and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up your quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Flanders Fields is now a U.S. Military cemetery in Belgium. Buried in this cemetery are the bodies of 368 members of the U.S. armed forces who died in WWI.

This poem is considered by many to be one of the most inspirational of it’s time. It was read from thousands of platforms in France and Britain to recruit more troops and to rally the spirits of existing troops. Once the U.S. decided to enter the war, the poem was read to encourage our troops as well.
When I look at the second verse…… “We are the dead, short days ago we lived…..” These men were willing to look death in the face and bravely they continued to march forward. They realized that they may not see their loved ones again here on earth and that their young lives would all too quickly end. That they might lose their ability to get up in the morning and thank God for another day. They died so that we might live another day in freedom.

Let us remember with honor today and every day all of the men and women that gave their lives for our country from Revolutionary War to the current war on terrorism. We have been given a precious gift to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
‘Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Twenty eight years ago a young girl stood before her congregation to share her faith on her confirmation day. Around her family she was talkative and outspoken but in front of so many she felt timid and shy. As she prepared to talk she asked the Lord to give her strength and to share what she had written out.

Dear Pastor, family, friends, and fellow Christians:

My Confirmation verse is: “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5. These words were written by an Old Testament poet, possibly King David. The Psalms were written for the Israelites and they were written to praise God much like what our hymns are used today.

My Bible verse reminds me of when we studied Luther’s Catechism, especially the Seventh Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. “But deliver us from evil.” What does this mean? We ask in this inclusive prayer that our Heavenly Father would save us from every evil to body and soul and at our last hour would mercifully take us to His Father in Heaven. This means that we should always trust God because He will always take care of us. This also means we are praying to escape evil, suffering, or pain, but to be set free from the power of the devil.

What my Confirmation verse means to me? I will always put my trust in God because I know He will always take care of me. Whenever I pray to God, I know He will always be there. He will always have time for me and for everyone else who comes to Him. I believe God will always protect me from evil and the power of the devil and when evil does come to me God will take care of it. He will keep it from destroying my faith if I believe and trust in Him. It means that I have committed myself to the Lord and that I should help other people trust in Him.

What being Confirmed means to me? It means becoming a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church and that when I’m a member, I will be able to take Communion. I will be able to help teach God’s Word and to continue coming to church every Sunday even when I’m Confirmed.

I would like to thank my Mom, Dad, and Pastor for helping me through Confirmation.

Today we celebrated Confirmation at Grace. Troy and I had the privilege of teaching the 8th graders Sunday School this year. We were blessed in our opportunity to share our faith to teach God's word.

As we sat there, I couldn't help but remember my own confirmation day 28 years ago today. I remembered when I was in 8th grade and had studied Luther's Catechism and all that it had meant to me. I thought I knew a lot...I know now I had only begin to scratch the surface...there is so much more to learn and to understand.

We also celebrated Good Shepherds Sunday in our church year today, how appropriate for Confirmation Sunday. Many of the hymns moved me to tears...not in an emotional frenzy sort of way...but a realization of all the ways the Lord has walked with me. In a world, which at times, seems to have "gone mad", I trust the Lord above all things. The following are the words of one of the hymns we sang today: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us, I pray the words of this beloved hymn will bless you as much as the blessed me today.

1. Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
much we need thy tender care;
in thy pleasant pastures feed us,
for our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.

2. We are thine, thou dost befriend us,
be the guardian of our way;
keep thy flock, from sin defend us,
seek us when we go astray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Hear, O hear us when we pray.

3. Thou hast promised to receive us,
poor and sinful though we be;
thou hast mercy to relieve us,
grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
We will early turn to thee.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
We will early turn to thee.

4. Early let us seek thy favor,
early let us do thy will;
blessed Lord and only Savior,
with thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast loved us, love us still.